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Friday, April 07, 2006

Blawging

Dan graciously asked me to come back for a guest spot to celebrate the anniversary of Prawfsblawg, and I am delighted to do so.  Rather than write about tax (I know, you really are glad about that one), I thought I'd step back and write about why I blog about tax. I have chosen to write A Taxing Matter as a personal exploration of tax and fiscal policy ideas, not a broader blog with multiple authors and multiple themes like Prawfsblawg.

Words are terribly important.  How we formulate the goals of the rule of law, and how we conceptualize justice, are inextricably wrapped in language.   Blogging about the law and in particular about the tax system and fiscal policy allows me to select one idea out of the many that come across my desk each day that I think is worth focusing on.  I can look into the sources behind the news item, come to my own conclusions, and then share that with my readers.  I will at the least have more firmly fixed my own views around the idea discussed by finding the words to write about it.  Perhaps I will also have provided a service, in that readers will have in one place an assortment of news articles about the idea, the study or report that triggered the original news story, and other commentary about the idea as well as my own "take" on it.   If a dialogue is begun, with comments on the blog or email exchanges with readers, then we can all gain through new perspectives.

Ultimately, I blog because I think it is important that ideas about tax get discussed from more perspectives than efficiency.  Just as justice theories generally haven't yet adequately accounted for our aspirations for both  liberty and equality, normative tax theories fall short of explaining the foundational principles that should determine the components of the tax system.   We need to have a deeper dialogue than the one currently undertaken in Congress that offers tax cuts (especially on investment income) as an economic panacea and refuses to consider the impact of increasing income and wealth inequality.

Blogging as a process is a curious combination of stream of consciousness and careful editing.  What is written can't be erased once it becomes part of the blogosphere, captured by Google, or linked by some other website.   It forces the writer to be brutally honest, to avoid overreaching in making a claim, to recognize the limits of the approach considered.  But it also offers an opportunity to sound out an idea in incomplete form, to invite comments that will shed more light on the subject than the author alone can manage.  That combination of care and experimentation is the innovative core of the medium.

Posted by LindaMBeale on April 7, 2006 at 02:53 AM | Permalink

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